Getting Creative at the MLB Trade Deadline
A great time of debate is upon us. Some will face the harsh reality of a losing campaign, while others will be celebrating their victories thus far and attempting to bolster their chances of winning in the long run. And no, I’m not referring to DNC. In fact, I’m talking about one of my favorite time periods during the baseball season — the trade deadline of course! In order to honor this MLB holiday, I have come up with 3 potential trading mindsets that will likely not happen, but are still fun to think about:
- Brewers trade SP Matt Garza (and his contract) with another actually desired piece
This would require a buying team without any budget constraints that is also willing to eat Matt Garza’s sub-mediocre pitching with his contract ($25.5 through 2018). Why would a team do this? Well, the Brewers are also the current keepers of a resurgent Jonathon Lucroy, possibly the most desired trade deadline position player due to his adept defense behind the plateand affordable contract ($5.25M in 2017). There are a few teams with needs at catcher with the financial flexibility to absorb Garza’s contract, such as each contending AL West team: the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners. Additionally, the fact that all of these teams are competing against one another will likely drive up the Brewers’ asking price if an active bidding war takes place.
2. Rays trade away 3B Evan Longoria for MLB READY talent
Yes, I know that Longo is the face of the Rays, and he is in the middle of a resurgent season after a few relatively down years. Yes, I know the Rays have not really undergone a complete rebuild since Longoria has come up to the majors in their AL-pennant winning 2008 season. And yes, I know that trading Longoria will leave the club with a sizable gap and out a superstar on a team-friendly deal that has him in Tampa through 2022. However, this is a lost season for the perennial AL East afterthoughts, and they have been known to be open to trading any player in order to retool and give next season a better shot. This idea is just that. It turns out that they happen to have an in-his-prime third baseman posting his best slash line since an injury-shortened 2012 in an injury free 2016. His contract and clubhouse demeanor are the cherry on top for a contending team to want his services. By reluctantly trading (and holding a high value) on their star third baseman, the Rays will again be able to get younger, healthier, and add more depth throughout their entire system. Teams with the nearly ready prospects and the ability to add at third base will be the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, and possibly even the St. Louis Cardinals or Cleveland Indians will get in the mix. Again, however, the Rays will not give away their franchise centerpiece, and they will absolutely need to be blown away by an offer in order to trade Longoria away to retool without him.
3. Giants trade for hitting rather than pitching
The San Francisco Giants have been absolutely atrocious in the month leading up to the trade deadline leadings speculators to, well, speculate on where they should add in order to right the proverbial ship. Most of the chatter has been surrounding the team’s bullpen, in which incumbent closer Santiago Casilla has blown 5 saves thus far this season and has not looked the part of a shutdown game ender. However! The price for a shutdown closer has revealed itself with the Cubs parting with a consensus top-20 prospect, an above average swingman, and a high upside outfield prospect in exchange for some guy named Aroldis Chapman (read: 106mph). The Giants could probably afford a 7th or 8th inning guy for somewhere in their price range without ruining the future, but I’m arguing their money is better spent on a position player, rather than someone who will throw maybe 30 innings through the end of the season. Their prospects would probably be best spent on a player who can fill in all over the field as they have numerous players on the DL (RF Pence, 2B Panik, 3B Duffy) who will come back soon, so a strong utility man will give Bochy some much needed flexibility as they chase this even year championship. Making a play for someone such as the Minnesota Twins’ Eduardo Nunez could be valuable as he has played many innings in the infield, but also has some history in the outfield, and he has been a relative bright spot on a dismal campaign for his club. However, due to the overall seller’s market baseball is experiencing thus far, expect Brian Sabean and co to make some, uh, Sabean-y moves by picking pieces off the scrap heap in order to avoid another Wheeler/Duvall fiasco.